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Issue 87 - A Meeting of the Firths

Scotland Magazine Issue 87
June 2016

 

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A Meeting of the Firths

Keith Fergus looks out from Findhorn

The narrow channel of the Cromarty Firth opens out into the Moray Firth’s wide open waters. Both the Cromarty and Moray Firths are designated Special Protection Areas for wildlife conservation and, as you would expect, the fauna that thrive here is spectacular.

The likes of bottlenose dolphins, harbour porpoises, grey and harbour seals call both firths home, while minke whales also appear as seasonal visitors. On account of this, the area is known as one of the world’s best locations for land-based whale and dolphin watching.

Humpback whales, northern bottle- nose whales, long finned pilot whales and common dolphins are a selection of the larger animals that may well be spotted; basking shark, the world’s second largest fish, also occasionally swim these clean, cold waters.

Looking across the Moray Firth from Findhorn, the opening of the Cromarty Firth, protected by steep cliffs known as the Sutor’s of Cromarty, is visible. Due to its tight confines, the Cromarty Firth has long been seen as one of the safest anchorages in Scotland and was once home to the Royal Navy’s Home Fleet.

It was also the site of the infamous Invergordon Mutiny, which took place over 15 - 16 September 1931, when 1000 British Atlantic Fleet sailors were enmeshed in industrial action.

For two tense days Royal Navy ships staged an open revolt against Ramsey McDonald’s government because of pay cuts. It remains one of the few strikes in British military history.